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EPA May Designate Buzzards Bay A No Discharge Zone

Release Date: 06/19/2000
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency intends to approve the creation of a no-discharge area in Buzzards Bay, which would prohibit boaters from dumping treated or untreated septage waste into the bay off the coast of southeastern Massachusetts.

The proposed designation, which includes the specific boundaries of a proposed No Discharge area, was publicized this week in the Federal Register with a request for public comment.

"Sewage from boats is a significant source of pollution in Buzzards Bay, especially in shallow harbors with a high density of boats," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator for EPA New England. "Creating a no discharge zone in Buzzards Bay will help substantially in cleaning the water in one of the Bay State's precious resources."

The boundary line includes about 210 square miles, or all of Buzzards Bay, which is home to about 13,163 boats, of which about 2,000 may have legal boat toilets. Before EPA can approve a No-Discharge Area designation, the agency must ensure the availability of adequate pump-out facilities where boaters can discharge their treated and untreated waste. Buzzards Bay has 30 pump-out facilities, 17 of which are on-shore facilities, and 13 of which are on boats.

Len Gonsalves of the Buzzards Bay Action Committee initiated the application to place safeguards on local marine resources.

"The Buzzards Bay Action Committee and the communities around Buzzards Bay are looking forward to this designation being approved, which will help enormously in maintaining and restoring the environmental integrity of the bay," Gonsalves said.

The Buzzards Bay Action Committee and Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management have been instrumental in developing and sheparding this application through the process.

A 30-day period for public comment begins Friday, June 16, and ends 5 pm Tuesday, July 19. Information requests or comments may be sent to Ann Rodney, US EP New England Region, Office of Ecosystem Protection, Water Quality Unit (CWQ), One Congress St., Boston, MA 0 2114-2023, phoned in at 617-918-1538 or emailed to